“I still don’t know what I was waiting for; And my time was running wild’

The mud continues to cake your brand new nike trainers as you pace around the perfectly set up coned area that surrounds your talented, passionate and wild group of players. They laugh, some grunt and others go about the business of the exercise with a stern look of concentration across their young faces. The ball goes out.

The session breaks down again, the ball rolls out and those stern, concentrated looks begin to fade into nothing. Disengagement…..

The galacticos of community football bring the ball back, start the exercise again, but it won’t be long before it is out and the planned masterpiece of your session fails to hit the mark. Something is not working…..

Cue David Bowie….. ch, ch, ch, CHANGES

It doesn’t matter how simple the session you put on is, you will always need to call on Bowie to help you out of a sticky situation, and it’s as simple as CHANGE IT.

The Australian Sports Commission’s ‘Playing for life’ campaign created the concept of ‘C.H.A.N.G.E I.T’ to help educators across Australia create physical activity that can be both challenging and inclusive for all participants.

The Australian football world has adopted CHANGE IT, and it currently provides the basis for coach modification if a training session or exercise is not working.

C – Coaching Style –Put yourself into the players’ boots and listen. Are you a coach that continues babbling on, or do you make your interventions and explanation concise, to the point and effective? Consider your delivery and engagement with players by recreating scenarios and using players as role models.

H – How to score – Players love scoring goals, and I love the motivation it creates within a session. Think about the different ways players can score to increase or decrease the challenge to your players. By having four goals, players will have more success in scoring, driving intensity and players cooperation as they look to switch play quickly.

A – Area – Like the above, does the ball keep going out? Try adjusting the size or shape of the area, making it bigger to decrease the challenge, or smaller to increase the challenge.

N – Numbers – Odd numbers at training? A common concern. Offset this by grouping weaker players in the team with more numbers.

G – Game rules – Does everyone run with the ball too much? Try setting a game rule to promote passing such as ‘3 touches’ or ‘everyone must touch the ball before scoring’

E – Equipment – Are your players struggling for success? Try changing the equipment used, such as making the goal bigger

I – Inclusion – Something not working? Ask the kids what they think. You may be pleasantly surprised by the modification they come up with.

T – Time – Are players taking too long to complete an exercise, keeping everyone else waiting for their turn? Have a time limit to increase intensity and ensure players are attempting the exercise at a realistic pace.

“So I turned myself to face me; But I’ve never caught a glimpse; Of how the others must see the faker”

Accommodating a range of abilities within your session is the art of effective community coaching. There is no need to rush into decisions, simply watch, listen and think about what you want to achieve and how CHANGE IT can help you achieve the outcome. We want to make our sessions enjoyable with a degree of success and challenge to keep players wanting more.

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